Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi Engineering Dean Elected to NAE

February 11, 2008 —

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos
USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos is among the 65 new members elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the highest professional distinction that can be accorded to an engineer.

"This is a great day for USC, for USC engineering and for two of USC's finest leaders, Provost Max Nikias and Dean Yannis Yortsos," said USC President Steven B. Sample, acknowledging Nikias and Yortsos' election. "National Academy memberships not only testify to the superb achievements of individual scholars, they also serve as indicators of excellence for an entire university. Their election to membership in the NAE is a credit to them both, but it is an honor to the entire USC community as well."

The citation for Yortsos, a chemical engineer, the Chester F. Dolley Professor of Petroleum Engineering and also the holder of the Zohrab Kaprielian Dean's Chair, reads: "For fundamental advances in fluid flow, transport, and reactions in porous media applied to the recovery of subsurface resources."

"It makes the entire USC community deeply proud to see Dean Yortsos elected to the NAE," said Nikias. "Yannis has been a world-class researcher in chemical and petroleum engineering. And having worked alongside him for many years, I have seen first-hand his ability to lead those around him to new levels of excellence."

Yortsos succeeded Nikias as the Dean of the Viterbi School in 2005. During their tenures as deans, the Viterbi School's graduate engineering program has been consistently ranked in the top ten in U.S. News & World Report.

Prior to becoming dean, Yortsos had served as senior associate dean for academic affairs and was chair of the USC Department of Chemical Engineering (now part of the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) from 1991 to 1997.

As dean and senior associate dean, Yortsos conducted an impressive overhaul of the undergraduate curriculum, and the school has enjoyed significant gains in student strength and in the quality of academic programs for undergraduates.

He also presided over the merging of two departments -- chemical engineering, including its petroleum engineering and materials science programs -- the endowment of three departments (Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and also established the Klein Institute for Undergraduate Engineering Life (KIUEL).

Yortsos is well known for fundamental research in fields that include fluid flow, transport, and reaction in porous media, viscous flows in porous media geometries, phase change in porous media and applications to the recovery of subsurface fluids (oil recovery and soil remediation). He was actively involved in peer review of the Yucca Mountain Project for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Yortsos received the ARCO Oil and Gas Outstanding Junior Faculty Award and the Rossiter Raymond Award from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers. In 2000, he received the Orange County Engineering Council's Distinguished Educator Award. He serves as the Sr. Technical Editor of the journals of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

He earned a diploma in chemical engineering from the National Technical University in Athens, Greece, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.